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Cycling through the weather: How to bike in winter

With temperatures below zero, rain and snow, you would assume that the Dutch are leaving their bikes in the shed. But nothing can stop the Dutchmen from biking. How do you survive biking in these conditions? And also, why would you bike still bike when it is below zero degrees? Gear up, and paddle on, here’s how to cycle through those winter weather conditions.

frozen boy

Do Dutch people bike in winter?

Is the Netherlands a kingdom? Of course the Dutch bike in winter. Here biking is a way of life, and winter is no exception. Dutch people are known for their love of cycling, and even when the temperatures drop and snow blankets the city, you'll find locals pedaling through the winter wonderland. The cycling culture is deeply ingrained in the Dutch lifestyle, making winter cycling a common sight in the whole country.

How safe is it to bike when it is snowing or freezing?

Biking in winter conditions may seem challenging, but the cycling infrastructure is well-maintained, also in winter. It makes the bike trip a lot safer than you might think.  Most cycle lanes are prepped by the municipality with a layer of salt. Preventing them from becoming super slippery. This will turn ice and snow into mush, and you will have better grip on the roads. Try to follow the main roads to be sure of salted routes, and you will be fine.

It is still safe to ride a bike, but keep in mind:

- Stay on the salted lanes.

- Slow down on icy roads.

- Don’t make sudden turns, take it easy.

- Keep extra distance to the others in traffic.

- Lights on! When the street lanterns are on, your lights have to be on too.

How do I prepare for cycling in winter?

If you are joining a bike tour in Amsterdam, be sure to wear your layers. Fatbike Tours will supply the poncho for potential rain, keeping your fleeced up gear dry!

bikes in the snow

- Choose the right bike: Fatbikes, with their wide tires, provide better traction on snow and ice, enhancing stability.

- Dress in layers: Bundle up with thermal layers, waterproof outerwear, and insulated gloves to stay warm and dry.

- Route Planning: Choose well-maintained bike paths, avoiding busy roads when possible. Familiarize yourself with your chosen route in advance. Don’t worry, if you take a Fatbike tour we will do this with you.

You have to be psychic to be able to predict the Dutch weather. But there are some websites / apps that can help you, and that we swear by. Keep in mind, that the predictions are not the final once! Even the radars make mistakes at times. Have a look at Buienradar or Buienalarm before leaving the house, so you know more or less when the peak of the rainfall will be.

The health benefits of riding a bike in winter

Your efforts will be rewarded! Cycling in the cold is very good for your health. You probably don't get out as much in winter, so bike rides are a welcome foray into the outdoors. Enjoy the views, white trees, frozen ditches and falling people. A winter spectacle! Your brisk bike ride has the following health benefits:

- Boost your immune system: built up extra immunity for all the winter diseases.

- Clearing the raspatory system: the crisp winter air is a good way to clean your lungs.

- Burns extra calories: because in the cold your body has to work harder to stay warm!

- Lower that blood pressure: cycling works out all your muscles, also your heart.

Does my bike tour get canceled when it is snowing?

Your Fatbike tour will happen no matter the weather. So if you are made of sugar, prepare! The tour guides will reward your bravery with a beautiful rain poncho, you can put this over all your warm winter layers!

Do not be scared, your tour guide has seen it all; storm, hail, snow - they will guide you through it. And frankly, we might even prefer the crazy weather conditions!